CAMBRIDGE, Mass.,–(–)–Platelet BioGenesis, Inc. (PBG), the leader in stem cell-derived, on-demand human platelets (PLTs+™) and platelet-based therapeutics, announced today that it has raised more than $26 million in Series A-1 financing. This round – in addition to Series A financing and numerous grants – brings PBG’s total funding to approximately $45 million.
Ziff Capital Partners (ZCP) and Qiming Venture Partners USA co-led the Series A-1 round, marking the former’s first investment in PBG. Existing investors Nest.Bio Ventures and eCoast Angels also participated in the round, among others. As a part of ZCP’s investment, Steven Altschuler, M.D., the company’s managing director of healthcare ventures, will join PBG’s board of directors. Dr. Altschuler is a recognized expert in gene and cell therapy, and chairman of the board of Spark Therapeutics, a company he co-founded while serving as the CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Spark Therapeutics’ advancements have garnered attention across the industry and the company is currently in the process of being acquired by Roche for $4.3 billion. Dr. Altschuler also sits on the board of several other highly innovative biotech companies, including AsclepiX Therapeutics Inc. and ImVaX Inc.
PBG will use the funds from the Series A-1 round to accelerate the development of its donor-independent platelet manufacturing capabilities and advance its proof of concept work around platelet-based therapeutics. The company plans to double its staff to approximately 50 employees in 2020.
“The Series A-1 round is a watershed moment for Platelet BioGenesis and constitutes a significant step forward toward supporting our goal of designing and launching our first clinical trial using stem cell-derived platelets,” said PBG President and CEO Sam Rasty, Ph.D. “By developing a targeted mechanism that harnesses donor-independent platelets as a new treatment modality, we plan to advance platelet-based therapy to effectively treat a broad range of human diseases. Our technology is unlike anything on the market, and we believe that our therapeutic capabilities have the potential to build on previous advancements in the gene and cell therapy fields and lead to transformative medicines.”
This announcement comes on the heels of several key developments for PBG. In addition to Dr. Rasty’s appointment as president and CEO in July, the company recently added biotech veteran Richard Murray, Ph.D., to its board of directors. PBG is expanding its operational capacity and moving into a new 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Watertown, Mass., early next year.
“In a short period of time, PBG has emerged as a leader in the market for cell therapy and platelet manufacturing,” said Dr. Altschuler. “This is a testament to the technology and team that PBG has built, and I am confident that the company is well-positioned for the next wave of growth.”
Mark McDade, chairman of the board of Platelet BioGenesis and managing partner at Qiming Venture Partners USA, added, “We have been very pleased with PBG’s progress to date. This infusion of capital, plus the tremendous expertise and guidance that Steve brings, further bolster the company’s prospects for continued success.”
To learn more about Platelet BioGenesis, please visit www.plateletbiogenesis.com.
About Platelet BioGenesis
Platelet BioGenesis (PBG) has created the only platform that can generate human platelets at scale. The stem cell-derived, on-demand platelets will be the first donor-independent source of platelets to address the chronic shortage worldwide. The company is also developing platelet-based therapeutics, a new treatment modality for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. PBG’s platform is patented and cGMP-compliant. The company was spun out of Harvard University and has received venture funding from Qiming Venture Partners USA and other investors, and has obtained grant funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense. Learn more at plateletbiogenesis.com and follow us on Twitter @plateletbio.